Intentional torts make up a unique category of personal injury cases that are not often understood by many people. Unlike all other types of personal injury cases where the negligence of the defendant resulted in accidental injuries, an intentional tort case specifically deals with injuries that were inflicted on purpose with the intent to cause harm. While intentional torts are, themselves, civil cases, they are usually accompanied by criminal cases for the same offenses.
Examples of Intentional Torts
There are a wide variety of intentional torts that can be brought up in civil court in Illinois. What they all have in common is that the act committed was done with the goal of harming the victim in some way. Some types of intentional torts include:
- Assault and battery – Assault and battery claims involve a person intentionally attempting to instill fear of immediate harm or harmful contact, respectively. The distinction is made in that assault deals with a threat of harm while battery is the physical act.
- Sexual abuse – Any nonconsensual sexual advance could be brought up in as an intentional tort as this may cause physical, mental, and emotional harm. This would include cases of rape, which would also have criminal proceedings.
- Fraud – This encompasses a rather wide range of activities that have the intention of misrepresentation. Fraud includes any number of cons, misstatements, scams, and deceit used to harm someone else.
- False imprisonment or arrest – Any forcible detainment or imprisonment meant to confine or restrict the freedom of movement of a person could be considered false imprisonment. Although police officers would be prime suspects for committing such act, false imprisonment and arrest are not exclusive to law enforcement.
- Defamation – These cases are somewhat complex, dealing with a person making false statements about someone, thus harming their reputation in the community. This includes both slander and libel.
- Purposeful infliction of emotional distress – When a person acts in an “extreme or outrageous” way to cause emotional distress in another person. Cases are up for a high degree of interpretation in this category and the judge/jury must decide what constitutes such behavior.
For an intentional tort case to be a success, it must be proven that there was a clear intent by the defendant to cause harm and they knew their actions would cause distress to the plaintiff. In other words, the defendant acted with reasonable knowledge that their actions would harm the plaintiff.
Damages Associated With Intentional Torts
Intentional torts also vary from other personal injuries when it comes to collecting damages. For a majority of personal injury cases, damages can be assigned for monetary losses that include medical expenses, lost income/wages, and any pain and suffering. Intentional torts differ in that the plaintiff can secure not only these types of damages, but frequently also has the ability to pursue more substantial compensation through punitive damages.